Phuket is a great place to relax and have fun but as with all parts of the world, one has to keep an eye out for those with nefarious intent. Here are five of the most common scams that tourists come across when traveling around the island.
The Jetski scam
This one is fairly well known around the world. You hire a jetski and when you return it, the owner complains that you damaged it, even though the damage was already there before you went out on your little sea trip. This happens with motorcycles too, but with those you can sometimes take a photo beforehand to make sure they don’t pull a swifty.
Bangla road scams
As fun and fascinating as this road can be, there are plenty of scams to look out for. The photo scams seem to be the most common. People will come up to you with strange exotic animals and place them on your shoulder. Your friend will take a photo and then the owner of the animal will demand money for the privilege. Photos with ladyboys often end with the same result.
One can’t really blame bargirls for trying to get as much money out of their customers as possible. Basically it’s their job to feign interest and concern for their clientele in order to bleed them dry. One way of doing this is to tell the customer that their family is poor and in desperate need of money, which is often true but that doesn’t mean you should become a charity service. It’s not uncommon for men to fall for this act and send money back to the bargirl on a monthly basis, from their home countries.
As soon as you arrive at Phuket, you need to be on guard. Minivans that collect passengers from the airport often stop at a halfway point between the airport and the hotel. People will come up to the window and tell you your hotel is closed or booked and that you can book theirs for half the price. These are ridiculous statements and you should politely insist that the minivan driver continue on the journey. It may take a few minutes but the driver will eventually continue.
Tuk Tuk scams
Be very careful when hopping in a tuk-tuk. You need to be very clear about how much the fare is going to be because sometimes the driver will try and sting you for a lot more than you expected. If the driver names a price, make sure it isn’t exorbitant and make sure it includes all members of your group, not per person.